North Dakota Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in North Dakota?

Starting a business in North Dakota means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


North Dakota requires statutory business entities, such as corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to submit certain documents and filing fees to form and maintain their business. Other entities, such as sole proprietorships, won’t need to register with the state. However, they still may encounter various fees throughout the formation process and beyond. If this sounds confusing, we are here to help. Use our LLC Formation Service and Corporation Formation Service to start your business.

Below, you’ll find an explanation of some of the fees your business is most likely to encounter as a North Dakota business owner, and how our formation and compliance services can help make the process easier

Step 1: Pay your North Dakota business’s initial filing fees

The first step to officially forming your North Dakota business involves filing your formation documents with the Secretary of State, accompanied by a filing fee. The formation documents register your business with the state, authorizing you to start operating your business. North Dakota doesn’t offer expedited filing options.

If you’re in a hurry to register your business, use our Expedited Filing Service for your North Dakota business. 

Step 2: Reserve your North Dakota business’s name 

Your business name is likely the first thing potential customers see or hear about your company, so you want to make sure your name fits your brand, message, and service. However, North Dakota prohibits businesses from having the same name. If you aren’t quite ready to form your business but have the perfect business name ready to go, you might want to consider reserving your business name. North Dakota allows prospective business owners to submit a Reserved Name Application through its online business portal.

If you’d rather focus your attention on getting your business on its feet, let us handle this for you with our Name Reservation Service to help you get started.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in North Dakota 

In some cases, you may want to conduct business under a name that is different from the one registered with the Secretary of State. This is often referred to as a “doing business as” (DBA) name, but in North Dakota, it’s called a “trade name.” 

North Dakota requires businesses operating under a trade name to register the name with the state. This prevents other businesses from using your trade name for their business and establishes a public record of the business owner. We can help you register your trade name with our DBA Registration Service.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number

North Dakota businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to pay taxes, hire employees, and open business bank accounts. 

You can get your business’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or through fax. If you don’t want to deal with the IRS, our EIN Service allows you to avoid the hassle.  

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or a partnership agreement for your North Dakota business

You may also need to pay a fee to file your North Dakota business’s governing documents. These documents outline the management structure and resolution process for your North Dakota business.

Even though North Dakota doesn’t require businesses to have these documents on file, it’s strongly recommended. They can prevent issues later on by detailing the procedures ahead of time. In some cases, third parties may even request proof of your governing documents before agreeing to do business with you.

WIthout an operating agreement, your limited liability company is subject to North Dakota’s default rules for LLCs. This can limit what your business may otherwise be able to do under an operating agreement that’s tailored to your business’s needs and goals. 

Having an operating agreement allows you to clarify the division of profits, decision-making procedures, management structure, and many other important items for your business. We can help you tailor an operating agreement to your business with our LLC Operating Agreement Template.

Step 6: Apply for your North Dakota business’s necessary licenses and permits

Many businesses need a variety of licenses and permits before engaging in any activities within the state. While North Dakota doesn’t have a general business license requirement, many cities in North Dakota mandate business licenses at the municipal level.

The licenses and permits your business will need depends on several factors, such as:

  • Location of your business
  • Profession
  • Industry
  • Services your business offers

License and permit requirements exist at the federal, state, and local levels. In many cases, finding all the licenses and permits you need to operate legally can require lots of time and research. Leave the research to us with our Business License Report. Our partners at Business Licenses, LLC, deliver a report that lists the licenses and permits you need for your company to operate legally.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A foreign company, or one that was formed under the laws of another state or country, will also be subject to certain filing fee requirements. Specifically, a foreign company must first obtain what’s called a Certificate of Authority from the Secretary of State before conducting business within the state. 

Additionally, if you’re a North Dakota business owner planning to conduct business in another state, you may need to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Fact before conducting business in another jurisdiction. 

Step 8: Check North Dakota’s annual report requirements and fees

North Dakota requires businesses to file annual reports on or before November 15 of each year. Your annual report signifies to the Secretary of State that your business is in compliance with state regulations.

We know that most business owners are more concerned with operating their business than filing yearly compliance documents. With our annual report service, we can file your annual report for you.

Step 9: Keep your North Dakota business legally compliant

Lastly, you may need to pay filing fees when you make certain changes to your business.

No matter how well you plan, there’s never any guarantee that changes won’t arise. If and when this does happen in the course of your business, don’t forget to make any necessary amendments and pay the appropriate fee to update the state accordingly.  

Failure to timely and properly update the state of important changes can result in potential penalties for your business. Thus, making amendments when necessary is a crucial step in keeping your North Dakota business legally compliant. 

While this may seem like a lot of work, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Use our Amendment Service or Worry-Free Compliance Service, which includes two amendments each year, to help keep your business up to date and in compliance with the state.

Let us help you keep your business compliant with North Dakota law

Many business owners face an overwhelming number of responsibilities relating to their business. With our services, you can focus on your business’s operations while we help keep track of the numerous filing fees required by the state.

Let us help you keep your business compliant with North Dakota law. With our Worry-Free Compliance Service, we will send you alerts when a compliance deadline is approaching, handle state filings on your behalf, and offer two free amendment filings per year after you pay the state fee. We can provide you the peace of mind you need to focus on the more fulfilling aspects of running a business. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in North Dakota?

    Yes. Businesses that fail to pay their filing fees typically incur late penalties added to their original fee.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the North Dakota government?

    Failing to pay certain fees can cause your business to lose its good standing status with the state.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my North Dakota business?

    The North Dakota Secretary of State receives filing fees.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my North Dakota business?

    Typically formation documents cost the most to file, but check with the agency where the document is filed for the most up-to-date pricing.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the North Dakota government?

    North Dakota accepts filing fee payments online using most major credit cards. You can pay for filings sent through the mail with a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the North Dakota Secretary of State.

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